Your day will never go just as you have planned! A schedule is just a guideline to help you aim for the goal of ‘getting it all done’.
Start with working with chunks of time (morning routine, school, lunchtime, quiet time, afternoon cleanup, dinner, bedtime) rather than short blocks of time.
Schedule a ‘Quiet Time’ into your afternoon. All kids are in a designated ‘quiet’ area for a set amount of time. I use (and plan on) this time for checking email, doing paperwork, reading, napping, or just sipping some tea in a bit of peace.
Schedule older kids to work with younger ones while Mom assists non-readers or struggling learners.
Your kids are able to do more around the house than you realize. Let them!
It helps if you plan ahead for meals. Consider trying a month’s worth of meals on a day when you are not “doing” school.
If you find scheduling difficult, realize the key is establishing a routine. Most find that after following the schedule for a few weeks there routine comes naturally and there is no longer a need to refer to the schedule. As needs change, so can your schedule.
Remember to be flexible. There will be days when the dinner burns and you have to start from scratch, the puppy tears up every pillow in the boys’ room, the littlest one has a meltdown every five seconds, and … Don’t worry! There will be more goods days coming.
Do not allow yourself to get stressed when your day doesn’t fit the schedule. Stressing only makes your day less productive. Some days require more time with a particular child or a few hours to sleep in after a late night. Roll with it, baby!
Take advantage of the weather of the different seasons. During hot summer days, do outdoor work early in the mornings and in the evenings and complete school indoors in the cool air conditioning in the heat of the day.
Assign the more undesirable or difficult tasks or schoolwork early in the day, leaving the more fun and easier tasks for the afternoon, e.g. Math in the morning and Science projects in the afternoon.
To make the day go more smoothly, reward good work with free-time. Completing a reading lesson with no grumbling gets some game time on the computer, or finishing Math in the allotted time earns 15 minutes of building a fort.
To shave off time in your day for getting ready to go out, pair up older children with younger siblings, e.g. bathing the little ones, finding shoes and coats, etc.
One of the most important tips is to evaluate your schedule and keep it fresh, changing it frequently. If something is not working, get rid of it. A schedule is to help keep you focused, not tie you down to something that doesn’t work for your family.
Don’t forget to schedule fun family time. Even just 30 minutes of playing with Playdoh or having a Lego Build-Off can make memories that will last a lifetime.
If you can afford it, get outside help with some of the housework. This can be a teenager who is willing to help with laundry, house-cleaning, or kitchen work. I have a family friend who loves to teach reading to young children. Occasionally I will send a meal home for her family to enjoy. Love her!
Remember that there will be a certain amount of mess with creative children in the house.
Keeping lists each day will help you to remember the important things you want to do, but remember you don’t have to accomplish it all!
If you have them, put your older children in charge of some of the meals. Even young children can heat up canned soup.
Remember the reason you are homeschooling when you are having a difficult day. Put your children’s immediate needs above the scheduled tasks. Tomorrow is another day to get back on task. That’s exactly why you have a schedule, to keep you on track.
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